Szczęśliwego czwartego lipca!

Can anyone explain why greetings for public holidays in Polish are declinated? E.g. Szczęśliwego czwartego lipca! Szczęśliwego nowego roku! Wesołych Świąt! Wesołych Świąt Wielkanocnych! Thanks

For all these greetings, the verb “życzę / życzymy” (= I/we wish you, as in “życzę panu Wesołych Świąt!”) is kind of implied in front. And since that verb requires the following noun phrase to take the genitive case, the greeting remains in the genitive even if you don’t say “życzę”.

Note that Poles don’t really think of the verb “życzyć” when saying any of these in the genitive. For us, seeing these phrases in the genitive is just a signal that they’re meant as a greeting / good wish. If you said “wesołe święta” instead, it would sound strangely out of context.

It’s the same with phrases like “smacznego” (enjoy your meal) or “powodzenia” (good luck").


Thanks! I’d always wondered about smacznego and powodzenia as well.

Now you’ve told me that “życzę / życzymy” is implied at the start of the greeting, it makes perfect sense that the rest of the greeting would be genitive.